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Independent health store advice on managing the menopause the natural way

Looking for advice on natural wellbeing? Your local independent health stores can offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise. This issue we speak to Dorothy Browne, manager of Nice & Natural in Cootehill, Co Cavan

Menopause can cause many changes in your body. The symptoms are the result of a decreased production of oestrogen and progesterone in your ovaries. This can lead to a host of symptoms which may include hot flushes, mood swings, insomnia, fatigue, memory lapses, osteoporosis, weight gain, anxiety and vaginal dryness to name but a few. The good news is that there are natural ways to manage some of the symptoms as you go through the menopausal stages.

Hot flushes are definitely the most common and most hated symptom of the menopause. Ask your health store for a sage extract – this is a fantastic herb used for hot flushes. It is also very important to drink lots of water, as we lose fluid when we perspire. We recommend a number of supplements to our customers including a combination of sage, soya, red clover hops, alfalfa, flaxseed and dandelion to help normalise hormonal imbalance and help with night sweats, mood swings, irritability and low libido. It is important to also avoid some foods which can trigger hot flushes like spicy foods, caffeinated drinks, alcohol and stressful situations.

Dryness can impact on anyone and it can rob us of our sense of wellbeing – dry eyes, dry mouth, dry skin and intimate dryness can all be a symptom of menopause. We recommend sea buckthorn omega-7 which helps nourish the skin, mucus membranes, hair and nails.

Mood swings and anxiety can be helped by doing some breathing exercises. It’s important to remember to breathe slowly – try breathing in for the count of two and out for four. There are a number of supplements for balancing nerves with a potent blend of amino acids, botanicals and vitamins together with magnesium to help maintain a healthy nervous system. They are a lift when life is getting on top of you.

Menopause is a natural stage in a woman’s life and should be treated so. A diet rich in phytoestrogens – plant hormones which help regulate human hormones when eaten in sufficient quantities – can really help, so up your intake of soya, lentils, chickpeas and garlic. Other important nutrients include essential fatty acids like oily fish, nuts and seeds, complex carbohydrates such as wholegrains; and organic fruit and vegetables which help keep the blood sugars balanced.

Exercise regularly – if you can fit in 30 minutes a day five times a week it will not only make you fit but also help prevent some menopause symptoms. Yoga, swimming, cycling and walking are all excellent low impact workouts that can reduce stress and boost energy.

Drinking plenty of water is crucial for your body to function properly, and staying hydrated has been shown to reduce certain menopausal symptoms like headaches, fatigue and breast pain.

Getting plenty of rest is a fundamental factor in preventing menopausal symptoms – sleep allows the body to recharge, refresh and strengthen its defences against pain and illnesses. On average you should aim for seven to eight hours per night.

Some women breeze through a problem-free menopause, but most will experience some symptoms ranging from mild to severe. If you feel you are struggling, advice and support are available at your local health store. Above all bear in mind that your health is in your hands and it’s at this time when your body deserves a little tender loving care.

Who’s who and what’s what at Nice and Natural, Cootehill, Co Cavan

“We opened Nice & Natural 12 years ago,” says manager Dorothy Browne, “after the family pharmacy moved premises. I thought there was a need for a health store in Cootehill, which is halfway between Cavan and Monaghan, and it turns out I was right because now we have a friendly local customer base.

“I am a chiropodist and run the store with Catherine Hannigan and Geraldine Higgins. We sell a wide range of everything our customers need – food, beauty and supplements.

“Food-wise we have lots of flours, nuts, seeds, porridges, vinegars and gluten-free foods. We also have fridges with vegan cheese and kombucha. If a customer asks for something I will get it in for them.”

“We have an extensive range of vitamins, sports supplements, alternative medicines and aromatherapy. Our eco cleaning range includes everything you need for your home and customers like our beauty products. We carry cleansers, toners, moisturisers, cosmetics and hair colours as well as deodorants, shampoos and palm oil-free soap. The dentist next door sends people in for bamboo toothbrushes and natural toothpaste.

“We have a nice gifts section with incense, salt lamps, vaporisers, candles, silver and natural stone jewellery and will make lovely beauty and food hampers coming into the festive season. We are happy to make hampers from products customers choose – popular ones include sugar-free and gluten-free. We hold tastings such as manuka honey and mulled wine towards Christmas and have had nutritionist talks in store. We always have food samples out for customers to try.”

Visit: Nice & Natural, 47 Market St, Cootehill, Co. Cavan
PHONE: 049 555 2190
SPEAK TO: Dorothy, Catherine and Geraldine.

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